Information alignment and task coordination in organizations: An 'information clutch' metaphor

  • Caldwell B
  • Palmer R
  • Cuevas H
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Abstract

Despite their rising popularity, distributed teams face a number of collaboration challenges that may potentially hinder their ability to productively coordinate their resources, activities, and information, often in dynamic and uncertain task environments. In this paper, we focus principally on the criticality of information alignment for supporting coordinated task performance in complex operational environments. As organizations become more expertise, geographically, and temporally distributed, appropriate alignment and coordination among distributed team members becomes more critical for minimizing the occurrence of information flow failures, poor decision-making, and degraded team performance. We first describe these coordination processes using the metaphor of an 'information clutch' that allows for smooth transitions of task priorities and activities in expert teams. We then present two case study examples that illustrate the potentially significant impact of information sharing and information alignment on productivity and coordination in organizations. We conclude with a discussion of future directions in this area.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Collaboration technology
  • Distributed teams
  • Electronic collaboration
  • Information flow
  • Information systems development
  • Information technology
  • Task management

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Authors

  • Barrett S. Caldwell

  • Ralph C. Palmer

  • Haydee M. Cuevas

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